Welcome to the Siren Board! 3.3.6

This section is for discussing any type of warning device that is not specifically an outdoor warning siren.
Such as factory alarms, whistles, fire horns, fire engine sirens, fog horns, etc..
User avatar
By Stag
#187578
Possibly a smoke detector, at least I am assuming it is.

In order to explain this fully, I'd have to diverge a little about myself personally. As a child, I was horrifically phobic of fire alarms, and this extends as far back as I can remember, even from before I was old enough to start school.
I am very hyper sensitive to noises, so sudden inescapable loud ones caused me distress. Indoor alarm systems frighten me a lot, outdoor ones are a different story though (I used to be afraid of tornado sirens but muscled my way out of fear through education, and now I love them!)

Anyways, due to this as a kid I spent a great deal of my time inspecting the ceilings and walls of all the places and buildings I would go to, looking for fire alarms and smoke detectors, noting their type and appearance and location, etc etc. It was like a self destructive kind of obsession, fire drills were the bane of my existence and I guess I wanted to.. be aware of what I was afraid of. Not sure.

So I know a lot about fire alarms, the different systems, makes and models, brands, etc. But there is one experience that to this day feels extremely mysterious. I've done as much googling as I possibly could and haven't been able to find anything that I could consider a match to this one.

I was in 1st grade being given a tour of my new school after hours, and I scoured the area looking at the different alarms. The whole building was decked out with a simplex system including detectors, sprinklers, fire alarm strobes and speakers.

However in one of the 5th grade classrooms, there was something mounted on the ceiling, I am assuming it was a smoke detector, but the thing that made this one different was how abnormally large it was.
That's just what stood out to me, the lighting was dim as all the lights were off and the sun was setting, probably making the experience that much more terrifying to me.
It was like, as I perceived it, huge. Very very large and long with a cylindrical pillar shape, I think it was beige or cream colored, and there was a small red light on the base of it. I believe it had visible censors in the form of a dark ring around the very end.

But what stood out to me was that it was HUGE, the mother of all alarms. I was so afraid of it I was frozen in place and I adamantly refused to enter the room. It felt like a legend to me, and a few times I'd actually left class without permission to go upstairs to the 5th grade rooms specifically to try and find this ultimate smoke alarm.
Eventually when I actually made it to 5th grade, I found that none of the rooms had anything even remotely similar mounted in them, and I never saw anything like it ever again.

Results for, 'large smoke detector' and 'biggest smoke alarm/fire alarm' didn't give me much, and I don't have an exact brand name or a definite description. For all I know, it might not even have been very big at all and my tiny child brain misinterpreted the size due to my own fear. Who knows?

I figured it might be worth asking however if anyone on this website has ever heard of anything possibly matching that description? This happened a definite 15 years ago and my memory very well could be off, so if anyone knows of anything that has that sort of design, shape and size even roughly, I would appreciate if you'd let me know! I want to finally identify this legendary sighting once and for all.
User avatar
By Stag
#187591
I believe it was very similar to either of these alarms

Image

Image

except it was, gargantuan.. like, at risk for a tall man to hit his head on haha. I'm seriously considering I could've hallucinated and saw something wrong, mistook it for being huge.
From what I can remember, it almost looked to be about a foot and a half long, likely requiring 2 hands to remove it from its mount.. I cannot possibly imagine why someone would need one that big though
#187594
I think I have my idea about that particular smok... I have one that fits your description. It's obnoxiously huge, slightly yellowed, has a small red LED and the chamber's openings looks like a large black ring. Right now, I don't have the pictures, but when I'll go home, I'll see if I can upload the pics. Bear in mind that older smoke/heat detectors were bigger.
#187618
That was quite an interesting story. Imagining such a smoke alarm in a dark room seems pretty uncanny to me as well.

Although i'm no fire alarm expert, I'm guessing maybe it was an older model Simplex smoke detector as you said everything else in the building were Simplex branded alarms.

What year was this school built?
#187620
As promised, here are the photos:
Image

It's more yellowed than it looks on the pictures, the camera doesn't really render justice but yeah you can still see the chamber's openings. Also this detector is a Photoelectric/Thermal combo smoke.

Image

On this photo, my hand serves as a scale to show how tiny it is compared to my hand, but it's actually much bigger than a modern-day smoke detector.
User avatar
By Stag
#187639
MaineCivilDefense wrote:That was quite an interesting story. Imagining such a smoke alarm in a dark room seems pretty uncanny to me as well.

Although i'm no fire alarm expert, I'm guessing maybe it was an older model Simplex smoke detector as you said everything else in the building were Simplex branded alarms.

What year was this school built?
I did a whole bunch of googling trying to find the answer here for you but nothing specific could be found. I do know however that the school district and local high school of the area has yearbooks spanning back to 1897, so chances are it's been around for quite some time!

I remember I started there in 2001 and entered just as the school had begun some modernization, a lot of it appeared to be very old pre 1980's stuff. The school bell was changed from mechanical to electronic and part of the intercom system the year I started, and the cool vintage old playground was demolished and reconstructed too. For the next four years, it underwent a visual transformation to look more streamlined and artistic, less like an old brick square I suppose.

Last I remember, there were Simplex 2901-9833+2903s, and Simplex 2098-9642s making up the bulk of what the system used if that helps!
When I worked as a summer camp counselor in another local elementary school in 2015 I did see that their old system had been revamped completely, so I imagine the other schools were still in the gradual process of modernizing their systems too.
Darley Champion wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:08 am
As promised, here are the photos:
Image

It's more yellowed than it looks on the pictures, the camera doesn't really render justice but yeah you can still see the chamber's openings. Also this detector is a Photoelectric/Thermal combo smoke.

Image

On this photo, my hand serves as a scale to show how tiny it is compared to my hand, but it's actually much bigger than a modern-day smoke detector.
Holy cow that is one truly impressive monster of an alarm! It looks like it'd be really heavy.. the one I recall seeing did look very similar to this in regards to the color and style, I bet this is about the same time period of manufacturing. That's awesome to see. If you can imagine something like this alarm, but the circular part of it being about twice as large in circumference and extending downwards by a ridiculously long amount, almost like a cylindrical Smokegard 700 even, then that's pretty much it exactly.

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